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Internet addiction is a growing problem with more and more people. The internet is much more accessible to people now than it was just a few years ago. The internet provides people with entertainment, loads of information, and an escape from everyday life, but like anything else, too much a good thing can be addictive. This paper will cover what internet addiction is, warning signs of internet addiction, problems caused by internet addiction, who develops internet addiction, preventing and treating internet addiction, and safety guidelines for internet users.
In the modern world internet access is a vital part of everyday life. It is important for education, and is a necessary skill for those entering the job markets of today. The internet is highly entertaining and informative. These qualities make the internet an attractive escape from the stress of everyday life. People can enter a different world and make the problems of the real world disappear. Anything is possible on the internet. Internet addiction has the same symptoms as an addition to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or caffeine. When someone becomes addicted to the internet they will have increasing tolerance to the amount of time they spend online, withdrawal, mood changes between when online and off, and there will be an interruption of social relationships and activities. People with an addiction will need more time online to be happy. When access to the internet is not available people will show signs of anxiety, depression, irritability, trembling hands, and restlessness.
There are five types of internet addiction. The first is Net-Gaming. People with this addiction participate in online games, Multi User Dungeon Games (MUDs), will visit virtual casinos, and my become obsessed with e-auctions and online trading and shopping. Another type of internet addiction is Cyber-Relational Addiction. People with this tend to make chat room relationships more important than their relationships with family or friends. They may even try to meet someone personally after meeting him or her online. The third type of internet addiction is Information Overload. People become obsessed with tracking down certain information and organizing it.
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Internet Addiction Internet Use Pathological Online Games Social Relationships Internet Access Everyday Life Real World Dungeon
This could reach obsessive-compulsive levels. The fourth type of internet addiction is Computer Addiction. This is not a true internet addiction but has the same qualities. People with this become obsessed with just being on a computer. The last type of internet addiction is Cybersexual Addiction. People that fall into this category will spend more time viewing, downloading, and trading online pornography. People will participate in online fantasy and role-playing chat rooms. They may even be tempted to send pornographic pictures of themselves to other users.
There are many warning signs of internet addiction. The user will lose track of time while online. They will sacrifice hours of sleep to spend time online. They will become angry when they are interrupted. They will check their email several times a day. They will become irritable when not allowed online. They would rather spend time online than with friends or family. People will lie about the amount of time they have spent on the internet. Relationships online become more important that those with real life friends and family to some people. They start losing interest in activities that they once enjoyed.
Personal, family, academic, financial, and occupational problems are caused by internet addiction. These are the same problems as with any other addiction. Real life relationships are disrupted. People spend more time by themselves. Arguments arise about the amount of time spent online. People will attempt to hind the amount of time they spend online. This causes distrust. Money problems may arise because of shopping online or the service provider.
Not any one type of person is prone to developing internet addiction. People who lack strong relationships with others are more likely to develop the addiction. The internet becomes an escape for those who are already suffering for psychological difficulties, such as, anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. People who have struggled with other addictions may also be more likely to develop an internet addiction.
To prevent or treat internet addiction you should agree on some ground rules. Parents should monitor the amount of time children spend online and should watch for the warning signs. If there are signs of internet addiction, a plan should be worked out to help with the problem. Stopping the use of the internet may not be necessary. Like any other addiction, they may have to stop slowly. Keep a timers or a schedule of the amount of time allowed online near the computer so that they can see when they are online. Make sure that the computer is in a room of the house that has a lot of traffic, like the dinning room or living room. You may need to make a list of activities that the person could do when not online.
There are some safety guidelines for using the internet. Most of them apply to minors but I think that everyone should abide by them as well. You should never reveal your name, address, telephone number or anything that can identify you to someone online. Never send a picture of yourself to someone over the internet or through the mail to someone you met online. You should never make plans to meet someone in real life that you meet online. Always remember that not everyone online may be telling the truth about himself or herself or anything else. A minor should tell a parent or teacher if something that someone says online to them is found offensive, rude, nasty or makes them feel uncomfortable. Don’t pretend to be someone that you not when you talking online. Your password should never be revealed to anyone online.
I hope you learned something about internet addiction through this paper. If someone you know may be addicted to the internet, try to get them some help. Sometimes outside help may be needed. There are internet addiction support groups, but if you can’t fine one close to you, call your local ADD or drug addiction center, they can help with tips to getting over addictions.
Internet addiction is a growing problem for the whole world: estimates show that from 5 to 10 % of world population have this problem. Internet addiction is defined as any online-related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s work environment (Johnson, 2009). Internet addiction has been called Internet dependency and Internet compulsivity.
On one hand, Internet should not be regarded as a means of addiction. “Addicted Internet users are addicted to a favored kind of social stimulation and not to the Internet itself, although it is also true that the Internet has made it vastly easier and more convenient for someone to develop such a compulsion”(Bocij, 2006). Therefore, those who tend to become addicts in real life. Have the same chance of becoming Internet addicts. On the other hand, the availability of Internet, propagation of new online possibilities and the lack of moral and social responsibility are the main driving forces causing people to drive into Internet compulsion.
One of the countries most vulnerable to this problem is Korea, where 90% of population have Internet access. Korea is ranked fourth in the world by the amount of home broadband subscribers. Also, Internet cafes are wide-spread, and Internet access is rather cheap. The problem of Internet addiction has already been closely examined and addressed by Korean government. To understand why this problem is so important for Korea, it is enough to analyze the statistics (Johnson, 2009):
– the average Korean high-school student spends 23 hours per week playing video games.
– 2.1 percent of children (from 6 to 19 y.o.) are affected severely enough to warrant treatment.
– about 80% of those who need treatment will also require medication.
– about 20-24% of those who need medication will also require hospitalization.
As one of the means for addressing this problem, a rescue camp for those who suffer Internet compulsivity was opened. The participants of rehabilitation programs arrive there and stay for a 12-day session. They are not allowed to use computers, and access to cell phones is limited by 1 hour per day. Also, lots of physical activities and actions aimed at establishing connection with real world are included.
Other actions of Korean government aimed at addressing the growing umber of Internet addicts is the idea of regulating the amount of Internet access and filtering content; the hotlines for those suffering Internet addiction are already available. However, despite these, obviously reasonable decisions, there are many depraved actions of the government related to the expansion of Internet dependency. For example, the availability of Internet and online gaming is a disease that has distracted many people (especially teenagers) from real life. However, government supports the online gaming industry and maintains Korea’s status as the capital of world gaming – for example, the world championship on computer games takes place in Korea. The biggest lie in all the situation is that though everyone is aware of Internet addiction, the government still supports and promotes the Internet cafes and uncontrolled usage of resources there, and does not make global attempts to address the situation. Though local solutions for those who are already addicted have been invented (and in this situation Korea is the pioneer – it managed to recognize such social problems which haven’t been identified clearly in other countries yet), there is no sound solution for turning people, especially young people, with their face to real life.
In my opinion, though Internet popularity itself should not be blamed for causing addiction, the tardy actions of the government and its “dual standards” – which encourage computer gaming business and internet cafes – together with the lack of adequate social programs for youth have partly added to the dimensions of the problem. However, current concern of the government and its set of actions aimed at reducing Internet addiction and its causes indicate that the problem has been recognized. Therefore, I believe that in future the number of Internet addicts and those in the “risk zone” will reduce.
Bocij, Paul. (2006). The dark side of the Internet. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Johnson, Nikola F. (2009). The Multiplicities of Internet Addiction. Ashgate.